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Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 107 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: While tweaking their current project, two young engineers accidentally discover that it has some highly unexpected capabilities--ones that could enable them to do and to have seemingly anything they want. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity is the first challenge they face. DealingWhile tweaking their current project, two young engineers accidentally discover that it has some highly unexpected capabilities--ones that could enable them to do and to have seemingly anything they want. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity is the first challenge they face. Dealing with the consequences is the next. (ThinkFilm) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. 100
    Primer unites physics and metaphysics in an ingenious guerrilla reinvention of cinematic science fiction.
  2. 88
    It is maddening, fascinating and completely successful.
  3. 80
    A brainteaser of the first order, Primer ranks among the best of recent thrillers such as "Memento" or "The Matrix," which rupture the fabric of reality and radically destabilize the narrative in kind.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    Shane Carruth's extraordinary work of shoestring speculation throws you into a deep ocean of techno-jargon and lets you dog-paddle or sink like a stone.
  5. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    60
    It's a puzzle as much as a plot, but when it's in focus (which it isn't for long stretches) it's remarkable brain-food.
  6. Love it or hate it, you won't be able to leave it alone.
  7. 25
    A real head-scratcher that somehow won the grand jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 43
  2. Negative: 7 out of 43
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    A minor miracle of a film, this movie manages to pull off everything a major motion picture should have (great scripting, amazing acting,A minor miracle of a film, this movie manages to pull off everything a major motion picture should have (great scripting, amazing acting, drama, etc.) with a mere budget of ~$7,000. It's simultaneously captivating, confusing, frustrating, and in the end, completely gratifying - even if you can't put all the pieces together on the first viewing. I already can't wait to watch it again. Expand
  2. DavidH.
    Sep 24, 2006
    10
    A modern-day masterpiece. The further the film progresses, the more fascinating and innovative it becomes. The this is the first feature film A modern-day masterpiece. The further the film progresses, the more fascinating and innovative it becomes. The this is the first feature film Carruth managed to make, lets hope it isn't the last. Expand
  3. Jun 22, 2011
    10
    (10.0) Awesome. The best Sci-fi serious in this century. How can you make a great movie with great head and a tight budget.
    Escuchar Waiting
    (10.0) Awesome. The best Sci-fi serious in this century. How can you make a great movie with great head and a tight budget.
    Escuchar Waiting eagerly to the new work from me, since I saw this movie, new idol.
    Expand
  4. Jan 25, 2012
    8
    Unsensational, clever, quietly scary, confusing sci fi with good acting to boot. I can't believe they made this film for $7000. I reallyUnsensational, clever, quietly scary, confusing sci fi with good acting to boot. I can't believe they made this film for $7000. I really liked the direction too. Expand
  5. Jan 24, 2014
    8
    In today’s day and age, we throw around the phrase “mind-blowing” a lot (Cracked.com probably published three articles this morning thatIn today’s day and age, we throw around the phrase “mind-blowing” a lot (Cracked.com probably published three articles this morning that contain the phrase…the other articles are insinuating that you don’t know anything). However, I have to say that “Primer” is as close to a real life instance of my mind actually exploding! The way this film handled time travel came off frighteningly realistic and, if it wasn’t for the below average acting, you could easily think it was a documentary on the discovery of time travel. Even though the acting isn’t great, the film delivers an incredibly intelligent script that actually challenges the viewer and is, quite possibly, the smartest, most realistic, science fiction film I have ever seen. Expand
  6. Dec 7, 2013
    7
    After failing to market the machines commercially, the inventors discover something shocking, they’ve actually created time machines. In aAfter failing to market the machines commercially, the inventors discover something shocking, they’ve actually created time machines. In a non-descript storage facility in the suburbs sit these mysterious machines, the culmination of hard work done at nights and on weekends; the capital for the machine’s production, all the funds the group could muster.

    Conscientious from the beginning, the men predict the dangers of their creation. They profess their not wanting to alter the past. They try to keep the project quiet, under wraps from world, but things easily get out of control amongst themselves. Aghast at their errors, they try to set things right, but since time travel functions according unknown sets of laws different from those of linear time, the concocted logical solutions to their problem end up becoming just additional steps towards disaster.

    Supposedly made for only $7000, this film is a marvel. Not only is it a fascinating story, the camera work and the production value is very good. With long scenes, and thoughtful performances by the cast, this quasi Sci-fi/Arthouse film is a visual pleasure to watch. It doesn’t screen as a low budget thriller.

    While Director/Writer Shane Carruth’s vision isn’t exactly crystal clear, and this mystery is part of the charm. For a film about a complex subject like time travel, the success is in Carruth’s ability to purvey the concept with very little flare. Everything seems to have aligned perfectly here. That is not to say it is the greatest film ever, but for a movie about such complicated subject matter, the bare-bones approach is very interesting. The script and characters talk about what they know. A narrator fills us in on a few more key details. Then the rest we are left to figure out on our own. As a sci-fi thriller this film works very well.
    Expand
  7. Printninja
    Dec 1, 2005
    0
    This is one of those movies that has you wondering why... Why would anyone bother to make it? Why would anyone be interested in putting a This is one of those movies that has you wondering why... Why would anyone bother to make it? Why would anyone be interested in putting a thoroughly uninteresting story on screen? Why did it receive such positive critical review? It was also one of those movies that you just keep watching, minute after excruciating minute, in the desperate hope that something, anything, remotely interesting (or merely comprehensible) will happen. This movie made me feel like I was watching the dramatic version of Revenge of the Nerds. I watched the entire thing without ever once wanting to. Now that's some sweet revenge, but did I deserve it? For the record, I am a technophile, with a pretty good understanding of "geek speak", and I still couldn't get the jist of this train wreck. Another movie made to appeal primarily to the filmakers, and the .00001% of the population who understood whatever the heck it was they were trying to say. In a word, Exasperating. (also, why did they choose to call it Primer? Makes about as little sense as the movie.) Expand

See all 43 User Reviews

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